The Best Businesses in Colorado Springs
A new startup is launched every 72 hours in Colorado. Denver and Boulder have joined the list of the world's fastest developing tech hubs, and business is also booming in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs has long been recognized as one of the most innovative cites in the United States. It has a proud history, and can list among its achievements the development of the first floppy disk drive and GPS technology. Our guide to the coolest Colorado Springs companies pays tribute to the city's illustrious past, and its creative, exciting future. As always we've included a wide range of businesses from a variety of industries and sectors.
Introducing our pick of the top Colorado Springs companies:
- Bristol Brewing Company
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
- GE Johnson Construction Company
- Wild Fire Tees
- Drifter's Hamburgers
- The Broadmoor
- Epicentral Coworking
- Griffis Blessing
- Borealis Bikes
Bristol Brewing Company
The Bristol Brewing Company has become a massive part of life in Colorado Springs since it was founded by Mike Bristol in 1994. Mike and his wife Amanda were on a mission to create high quality craft beers using all natural ingredients.
Judging by the popularity of their creations it is mission accomplished. Their five flagship beers are available on draft and in bottles in bars and restaurants all over Colorado. They are also available in a number of liquor stores across the state.
- Founded: 1994
- Founded By: Mike Bristol
- Industry: Pub & Brewery
- Location: 1604 S Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
- Website: bristolbrewing.com
Special Feature: Ivywild School
The Bristol Brewing Company is about more than beer, and it has put a lot of focus on community work during its 20 year history.
Bristol Brewing was heavily involved in the concept and process of setting up the Ivywild School as a multi-use community space, and the company have been a huge part of the venue's success since moving their brewery and pub into the old elementary school.
The Ivywild School is a venue full of character, but more importantly is a place where all types of people from the local community can meet, mingle and share ideas. Without the work of the Bristol Brewing Company it would not have been possible.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is an organisation on a mission. Its aim is to be “a leader in conservation, captive breeding, and animal care” whilst simultaneously connecting visitors with wildlife by offering “experiences that inspire action”. It's certainly succeeding. It was recently ranked as the 5th best zoo in the entire United States by TripAdvisor, and as America's only mountain zoo it definitely offers visitors a unique and inspiring day out.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has been run for the people of Colorado Springs as a non-profit public trust since 1938. There are 224 accredited zoos in America, but Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of only nine able to operate without government funding. This is a very impressive achievement which all of the zoo's employees should be extremely proud of.
- Founded: 1926
- Founded By: Spencer Penrose
- Industry: Leisure & Tourism
- Location: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
- Website: cmzoo.org
Special Feature: Social Media
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is doing great things on social media. Take a quick look at the official Facebook page or Twitter stream and you will see loads of interesting and engaging images that do a great job of visualizing the excitement of the attraction.
The brand also does a great job of interacting with fans and visitors. The #FanPhotoFriday hashtag is a great way for visitors and fans to feel involved. Initiatives like this have helped Cheyenne Mountain Zoo create a warm and welcoming community feel that is present across all its social media channels.
GE Johnson Construction Company
More than 90% of GE Johnson Construction Company's $7 billion worth of completed projects comes from repeat clients, which is an amazing testament to the great work it does. The company has worked on some really cool local projects including the U.S. Olympic Committee Headquarters, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Rocky Mountain Wild Exhibit at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. That's a pretty exciting and varied portfolio.
GE Johnson Construction Co. was named one of the best places to work in Colorado Springs by The Colorado Springs Business Journal in their 2013 Best of Business review. Jim Johnson (President and CEO) also won the best boss award. With initiatives like company funded scholarships for children of current employees it's easy to see why he won.
- Founded: 1967
- Founded By: Gil Johnson
- Industry: Construction
- Area Served: United States
- Website: gejohnson.com
Special Feature: Social Responsibility
As well as looking after its own employees the GE Johnson Construction Co. also gives a lot back to society. Over the last year the company has supported more than 115 charities at local, national and global levels. This includes more than 1,000 hours of volunteer work.
One of the company's recent initiatives is the GE Johnson Therapy Dog Team. This gives GE Johnson employees and their family members the chance to work with Therapy Dogs Incorporated to earn therapy dog certification for their pet and visit hospital patients to help with their care and bring them some joy. It's a great initiative to be involved in.
Wild Fire Tees
The creators of Wild Fire Tees have managed to do something quite rare. They have combined raising money for an extremely worthwhile cause with a range of products that is genuinely stylish and cool in its own right.
Wild Fire Tees was created by a group of designers, marketers and printers working at a number of different companies in Colorado Springs. They were devastated to see the destruction caused by the 2012 Colorado forest fires and wanted to use their skills to raise money to support the relief effort.
At the height of the fundraising campaign Wild Fire Tees sold $300,000 worth of t-shirts in just one week, a remarkable achievement.
- Founded: 2012
- Founded By: Austin Buck, Thomas Eisenbeis, Matt Andrews and Kathleen Eisenbeis (CoPilot Creative) Troy DeRose and Sara DeRose (Fixer Creative Co) Jenny Schell and Chris Schell (Design Rangers) Tucker Wannamaker, Jenni Reher, Josh Steinfeld (Magneti Marketing) Jedd Erfurdt and team Ruckus Apparel, Mathias Valdez (LastLeaf Printing).
- Industry: Charity Apparel
- Area Served: Worldwide
- Website: wildfiretees.com
Special Feature: Group Action
It's great to see a group of creatives from different companies come together in a crisis to do all they can to help. It's extremely impressive that Wild Fire Tees were able to design, print and publicize their work in such a short space of time.
Wildfire Tees continues to support wildfire relief efforts in Colorado. The company has created a fund with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation to ensure the funds are properly managed and that 100% of the profits will always go to charitable causes.
The burger market is about as competitive as it has ever been right now, so for Drifter's Hamburgers to be excelling it must be serving up something special. The two Drifter's restaurants in Colorado Springs serve unique California-style quick service hamburgers that are cooked to order. The chefs use high quality, all-natural ingredients that are sourced from local suppliers wherever possible.
Everywhere you look Drifter's Hamburgers is getting great reviews. Its burgers always seem to feature on lists of the best eats in Colorado Springs, and across the state as a whole. Once you've tasted one it's easy to see why. The company is currently looking for franchise opportunities and hope to take their burgers to the rest of America.
- Founded: 2008
- Founded By: Rich Beaven
- Industry: Quick Service Restaurant
- Locations: 1485 Jamboree Dr. Colorado Springs CO 80920 and 455 Mark Dabling Blvd Colorado Springs CO 80907
- Website: driftershamburgers.com
Special Feature: Callicrate Beef
As more people begin to take notice of what's in their food it's great to see a quick-service company using the highest quality natural ingredients available. Callicrate Beef sells itself as the highest quality meat in the world. It's free of hormones and antibiotics, and the good management of the animals reduces stress in the herd. All the animals are born and raised in the USA too, which is good for environmental sustainability.
It's this focus on quality ingredients that sets Drifter's apart from the competition. From the Callicrate Beef to the preservative free buns it's a burger full of natural taste.
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is a AAA Five Diamond resort, and one of a handful of America's classic grand resorts. It has everything you could want: amazing golf courses; Colorado's only five star diamond restaurant and one of the first (and best) full-service spas in America. The Broadmoor has even won an award for the best public restrooms in Colorado Springs. Everything is first-class.
The Broadmoor has been synonymous with class and excellence ever since it was built by Spencer Penrose (who also founded Cheyenne Mountain Zoo) in 1918. Penrose was determined to turn the Pikes Peak region of Colorado into one of the world's most diverse and interesting resorts, and the fact The Broadmoor is still held in such high regard to this day shows he certainly succeeded.
- Founded: 1918
- Founded By: Spencer Penrose
- Industry: Leisure & Tourism
- Location: 1 Lake Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
- Website: broadmoor.com
Special Feature: Continued Improvements
The Broadmoor has been at the top for an amazing length of time. It has held the Forbes 5-Star ranking (formerly Mobil Guide) for 52 consecutive years, longer than any other property in the world.
No business could be successful for this length of time without making continued improvements and adapting to the times. The Broadmoor has always been ahead of its time, and in 2011 work began on a $90 million renovation and improvement project which includes the redevelopment of the newly acquired Emerald Valley Ranch, a set of stunning cabins set within the beautiful surroundings of the Pike National Forest.
We always like companies that help others succeed, and that's exactly the type of business Epicentral Coworking is. It is a workplace community space in downtown Colorado Springs where small businesses, entrepreneurs, creative and independents can go to get work done.
Epicentral Coworking offers home-based entrepreneurs a chance to escape isolation, and provides professional spaces such as conference rooms that cannot be replicated at home or in a coffee shop. It's businesses like Epicentral Coworking that are helping Colorado's startup community thrive. And with a daily rate of just $15 and a great value monthly membership option it's accessible to all.
- Founded: 2012
- Founded By: Hannah Parsons and Lisa Tessarowicz
- Industry: Office Space
- Location: 415 N. Tejon Street Colorado Springs 80903
- Website: epicentral.org
Special Feature: Regular Events
Being able to rent desk space is nothing new, but Epicentral Coworking does it better than most. It's “more than just a place where people get work done”, as the company website explains. Epicentral aims to cultivate Colorado Springs' entrepreneurial community and bring people together to spark encouragement, creativity and to take projects to a higher level through collaboration.
Epicentral Coworking hosts several regular events to inspire entrepreneurs, and startups to have new ideas and take their business to the next level. These events include Startup Weekend, Innovate Colorado Springs and Go Code Colorado. It's great to see Epicentral Coworking helping other businesses and entrepreneurs achieve their goals.
Griffis Blessing was founded in 1985 by two friends and graduates from Colorado College, and has grown to a point where the company now manages more than seven million square feet of property space. Griffis Blessing manages both commercial and multifamily property along the Front Range in Colorado and now Boise. They offer clients comprehensive real estate asset management services with a primary focus on property management and investment services.
Griffis Blessing is one of only 6% of all management companies in the United States to hold Accredited Management Organization status, awarded by the Institute of Real Estate Management.
- Founded: 1985
- Founded By: Buck Blessing and Ian Griffis
- Industry: Property Management
- Area Served: Colorado and Boise
- Website: griffisblessing.com
Special Feature: The Team
Griffis Blessing has long been considered one of the best places to work in Colorado Springs, and it has won numerous awards to prove it. But perhaps the best testament to life as a Griffis Blessing employee is the fact that many of the current 250 employees have worked for the company longer than 20 years. A rarity in recent times.
There aren’t many companies that better represent Colorado Springs and its rugged terrain than Borealis Bikes. Adventure is in its DNA.
Borealis design and develop fat bikes. These bikes have over-sized tires which make it easier to ride on unstable, soft terrain like snow or sand. They were initially invented for winter racing in Alaska and for riding around the New Mexico deserts, but Borealis believe they are more fun to ride than traditional mountain bikes.
- Founded: 2013
- Founded By: Adam Miller, Steve Kaczmarek, Pete Basinger
- Industry: Fat Bikes
- Area Served Worldwide
- Website: borealisbikes.com
Special Feature: Social Responsibility
Borealis are another company who do a lot of work to help non-profit organisations. In 2014 the company became a silver level sponsor of World Bicycle Relief (WBR), a charity that distributes bicycles to aid poverty relief and disaster recovery across Africa.
To date World Bicycle Relief has distributed more than 200,000 bikes, and on average each of these bikes will improve the lives of 5 people. In the developing world access to reliable transport can literally be the difference between life and death. The support of companies like Borealis is helping World Bicycle Relief change and save more lives, which is certainly a very cool thing.
Image Source: Jasen Miller